Some complex health problems involve processes that can only be studied in living organisms, which includes cardiovascular disease. The use of animal models (also called in vivo models) therefore is an essential part to the development of new and more effective methods for disease diagnosis and treatment. The sysVASC consortium is dedicated to selecting appropriate models that best mimic human cardiovascular disease, to improve our understanding of the key mechanisms of disease development. All animal experiments will be performed responsibly in strict accordance with national and international regulations by appropriately trained personnel, ensuring the humane treatment of animals.
The sysVASC project will use small animal models that represent key risk factors in humans including hypertension, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia, making it possible to identify common features of the disease and define the best model for testing novel drug targets.
The current in vivo models that are available mimic specific characteristics of the human disease, representing three of the main pathophysiological principles of macrovascular disease: diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. No single in vivo model currently represents all aspects of human cardiovascular disease, hampering progress in the understanding and development of therapeutic approaches to myocardial infarction.
Therefore, the sysVASC consortium is using several different small animal models (mouse and rat) to study specific aspects of disease systemically, these include: a hypertensive model, an atherosclerotic model, a diabetic model, a combination of atherosclerotic and diabetic model, a model of aortic pressure overload, and an atherosclerotic plaque rupture model.
The recently developed atherosclerotic plaque rupture has the advantage of better representing the actual human pathology of the disease. The different models will enable the consortium to study not on the common but also the discriminating features of vascular changes in diabetes, dyslipidaemia and hypertension.